This is a static blog for the book "The Rough Guide to British Cult Comedy" still available at all good bookshops and online stores. For my more recent comedy musings please check my

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cult TV Comedy

In The Cult TV Chapter are Absolutely, Absolutely Fabulous, The Adam And Joe Show, Agony, Anyone For Pennis, Big Train, A Bit Of Fry And Laurie, Black Books, Blackadder, Bo Selecta, The Comic Strip Presents, The Day Today/Brass Eye, Desmonds, Early Doors, The Eleven O'Clock Show, The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin, Father Ted, 15 Storeys High, Green Wing, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Kelly Monteith, The Kenny Everett Show, The Fast Show, Goodness Gracious Me, The Innes Book of Records, Knowing Me Knowing You...with Alan Partridge/I'm Alan Partridge, The League of Gentlemen, Little Britain, Marion And Geoff, The Mark Thomas Comedy Product,Men Behaving Badly, The New Statesman, Nighty Night, No Angels, Not The Nine O'Clock News, The Office, Peep Show, People Like Us, Rising Damp, The Royle Family, Saturday Live/Friday Night Live, Shameless, Shelley, Smack The Pony, Spaced, Spitting Image, That Peter Kay Thing/Phoenix Nights, The Thick Of It, Trigger Happy TV, The Young Ones.

Network DVD have just released Shelley: The Complete First Series and on 16th April, 2007 they will be releasing Saturday Live: The Best Of The First Season. Check out for more details.
Bonus excerpt from the book!
In The Rough Guide To British Cult Comedy I compiled a list of some of the not-so-hot comedy shows of the last thirty years, and here they are...
Trippers Day, 1984
After Leonard Rossiter’s work in Rising Damp and The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin, this lame tale of a supermarket manager struggling to control his staff was
almost heartbreaking to watch. The jokes hit the floor with a heavy thud.

Up The Elephant And Round The Castle, 1983–85
Worse even than Jim Davidson’s dubious talents as an actor were the scripts for this sitcom which made his character’s birds and booze quests far less diverting
than Davidson’s tabloid escapades.
Yus My Dear, 1976
Spun off the dire, racially stereotyping sitcom Romany Jones, named after veteran comic actor Arthur Mullard’s lame catch phrase, this was so hideously unfunny even ITV yanked it off air after one series.
Take A Letter, Mr Jones..., 1981
This sitcom was a vehicle for Are You Being Served?’s camp hero John Inman (Mr Humphries) but a onedimensional plot about him being the secretary (and not a
woman) flagged halfway through the first episode.

Mr Bean, 1990–95
Though successful, with even a smash movie spin-off, there’s surely only so much face-gurning you can take from Rowan Atkinson who went from the sublime Blackadder to the ridiculous with this show.

The Upper Hand, 1990–96
This dull remake of the popular US sitcom Who’s The Boss, had a one-joke premise that everything else fell around: the will they, won’t they, who cares anyway issue of whether widower/housekeeper Charlie (Joe McGann) would get it together with his employer Caroline (Diana Weston).

Keeping Up Appearances, 1990–95
Though attracting devoted fans in number this comedy of manners had nothing on its sparkling predecessor, The Good Life.
Babes in The Wood, 1998–99
Samantha Janus and Denise Van Outen were easy on the eye for male viewers but this hackneyed young, free and single “birds on their own” premise was looking
decidedly jaded by this point in comedy history.
Coupling, 2000
A shrill exploitation of the Friends formula, this retread had the same number of characters as the US sitcom but one sixth of the charm and guile.
Shane, 2004
A disappointingly middle-of-the-road outing for Frank Skinner, almost as cheesy as Jim Davidson’s Up The Elephant And Round The Castle (above).